Wednesday 28 September 2016

Teenager with cancer sends out inspiring message after losing her hair

Helena Horton

Published 15/08/2016 | 15:30

"Cancer doesn't stop me me from being a princess" Credit: gerardogarmendia.com

A young woman who survived cancer has sent an inspiring message aimed at other women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

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Andrea Sierra Salazar, 17, tweeted a photo shoot taken after she lost her hair, with the caption "Cancer doesn't stop  me being a princess".

She discovered she had cancer when her mother took her to hospital after she found a lump on her neck.

Ms Salazar told BuzzFeed: "There were no side effects, I wouldn’t have known [I had cancer] until one day I felt like I slept wrong, and my neck hurt. I patted my neck and I felt a really big ball."

Doctors discovered she had two tumours, one in her neck and one in her chest. They diagnosed her with stage two lymphoma.

Because she has had to take time off school to have treatment, her mother suggested she spend her free time modelling.

Ms Salazar has enjoyed modelling since she was 13 years old - but losing her hair knocked her confidence.

She experimented with wigs, but it wasn't the same.

“Before chemotherapy I had always been a confident person,” she told the website,“so when my hair started to fall out I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t feel that confident about myself.”

She modeled for a fair few photographers and agencies after her mother set up appointments with them.

But one photo shoot was really special - Gerardo Garmendia took a series of photographs of her without a wig on, and she looks radiant.

Almost 100,000 people have retweeted the pictures of her smiling in an ornate blue dress.

She spoke to BuzzFeed about the experience: "[At first] I didn’t feel confident enough to do a version without a wig, but then I realised that I had no reason to be ashamed of the way I looked, I should be proud.

"It’s not only about my outside beauty, it’s about the inside. That’s what really inspired the photoshoot without the wig."

Ms Salazar originally took the pictures to inspire the young people at the clinic.

"I see all these little girls, and you can see it in their faces that they lose all confidence in themselves," she told the website.

"I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes doesn’t define who you are – what really matters is your inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you’re a kind person, that shows through."

Telegraph.co.uk

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